Poet, Teacher, Writer, Editor
Welcome to my web site. In various capacities, I'm a poet, teacher, writer, and editor based in western Wisconsin near the Twin Cities. My work is strongly rooted here, so in my poems you'll meet some of the people, animals, birds, flowers, and trees I encounter day to day, not least the wonderfully named kinnickinnic, or red osier dogwood or red willow, so plentiful in these parts. I like the symbolism of kinnickinnic, so ready to root from a cutting that the Indians saw it as an emblem of resurrection.
I've kept this site simple for easy navigation. "About" will fill you in on a little biographical background. "Poems" showcases a few poems with which I've been particularly happy over the years. I'm using the "Blog" section to air occasional essays on literature, culture, and current affairs. "Publications" provides a brief bibliography of my published work. "Contact" tells you how to get in touch with me. (I always welcome comments by readers, not to mention invitations to read or teach.) And this home page does double duty as a calendar for upcoming events. I hope you'll have as enjoyable a time glancing around this site as I've had putting it together.
Mark your calendar! Once again I've booked the River Falls Public Library for another tribute in poetry and song to John Lennon, Sunday, December 8, 7 p.m. I'll be there with friends to remember this seminal artist of my generation. Free. Come join us.
Poetry: Form and Imagination (12 weeks)
(Open to all levels)
This class emphasizes the "serious play" of working with form, not at the expense of imagination and feeling, but to better serve their range and subtlety. New forms can unlock new content. While keeping considerations of content in mind, we'll approach poetry mainly through formal strategies, to tap new expressive capacities and bring neglected aspects of experience and personality into our work. We'll spend the first few sessions revisiting the formal foundations of poetry, and then adventure into the wide world of forms, exploring mainly nontraditional, sometimes non-Western forms including the haiku and haibun, the Neruda-style "elemental" ode, the prose poem, the ghazal, and the series poem. We'll also note formal innovations in American poetry and consider three important elements in inventing forms of our own. Master poets discussed include Donald Hall, Pablo Neruda, Robert Creeley, Mary Oliver, Lorine Niedecker, and many others. Weekly writing assignments span a range of forms and styles. The instructor offers to critique up to six poems per participant between class meetings. Small copy fee.
Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m., January 28 - April 15. Contact 612/379-8999 or www.loft.org.
(Open to all levels)
For many, winter is the best season for writing. At this time of year the quiet of the external landscape pulls us toward an inwardness conducive to dreaming and re-visioning our lives. Winter's inward mood is perfectly suited to the reading and writing of poetry. This day-long class, part poetry workshop and part reflective retreat, focuses equally on inner and outer aspects of winter. In the morning session, we'll enjoy a spacious survey of poets who know and have written unforgettably of the northern winter, such as Freya Manfred, Robert Bly, Connie Wanek, and Tom Hennen. Writing exercises for this half of the workshop will stress observation of winter weather and various "outside" phenomena. Our afternoon session will go "inside," touching upon that fertile dream-work that nourishes us during the dark, cold time of year. We'll examine the role of memory in our writing about the short days and long nights of winter. Borrowing the writer Frederick Manfred's respectful adaptation of a Plains Indian practice, we will also write "winter count" poems about the past year's important events. Participants can come away from this lively, yet meditative day with a refreshed readiness to write the poems of the coming year.
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., February 22. Contact 612/379-8999 or www.loft.org.
For a perceptive reviewer's take on the book, see Alice Gregory's review for The New Republic at
I am also happy to report that a British edition of Airmail is just out this summer from Bloodaxe Books in the UK. The Guardian in its July 12 edition has published a perceptive review by Fiona Sampson. Sampson writes: "Testament to the possibilities of [a writing life well-lived], this is a generous, intimate book. It should be required reading for everyone interested in poems and the making of poetry." You can find Ms. Sampson's full review at: